Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE faces mostly higher Asian markets on Friday morning, with risk appetite finding support from strong economic numbers from both the US and China.

Chinese first quarter GDP soared a record 18.3% year on year in the first quarter of 2021, slightly lower than expectations, though retail sales numbers for the same quarter came in higher than expected, jumping more than a third.

Overnight, US data was also supportive, with retail sales surging almost 10% in March, while numbers for February were revised higher.

“Indeed, US consumers wasted little time stuffing stimulus cheques into starving retailer cash registers with stocks surging to cash register rings across the US as consumers are made willing and able to spend thanks to the US’s speedy vaccine rollout,” said Axi chief global markets strategist Stephen Innes in a note.

In morning trade the Shanghai Composite was up 0.46% and Japan’s Nikkei 0.22%, while the Hang Seng was flat.

Tencent, which gives direction to the local bourse through the Naspers stable, had gained 0.24%.

Gold was flat at $1,763.68/oz, while platinum had risen 0.34% to $1,198.60/oz. Brent crude was 0.19% higher at $66.95 a barrel.

The rand was 0.17% weaker at R14.20/$, on track to snap a four-session winning streak, and having pushed to its best level since January 2020 on Thursday.

Risk appetite is soaring, with the rand remaining one of the best performing currencies globally, with local yields remaining appealing to investors, said Citadel Global executive director Bianca Botes in a note.

Private hospital operator Mediclinic is due to release a trading update for its year to end-March later. The group had said in its third-quarter update revenue grew 2.5%, and though the second wave of Covid-19 had been more severe than the first, there had not been blanket restrictions on elective surgeries.


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